Froggy Girl Designs

A glimpse into my daily life of crafting, frugal living, and being a mom!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 Earn free gift cards!

Many days as I sit here "working" on Ebay, or one of the many other things I do online to save/make our family money, I also will play at Simple play the lottery type game, and earn points (there is NO money involved, except as prizes). The game doesn't cost you points to play, or anything else. There are cash prizes to be won, but with my luck, I don't even think about those! I focus on earning points, because with those points, you can redeem them for gift cards for places like Home Depot, Pier 1 Imports, and many many others.

This is a relatively new site, still in it's Beta stages, but so far, the worst bug I've found is it tends to be slow at times (I'm assuming when there are alot of players online), or stall completely. Both easily gotten around. I do not sit and stare at the site, I click the play button, go read an email, work on an auction, or wipe a snotty nose, then click win to see if I got any points that round. Easy peezy!

Check out the banner at the right, you get 1,000 points just to sign up, and it really is easy!

Every persons dream...FREE STUFF!

Legitimate free stuff that is! is a grassroots movement founded in 2003 in Tucson, Arizona to promote waste reduction. Today, it is an entirely non-profit movement which has spread not only across the United States, but the world as well. It works like this. You sign up for your local Freecycle group (find it here) , make a post about that old couch hanging out in your garage you've been wanting to get rid of for years, then wait for someone to come pick it up.

Freecycle does not allow any selling of items, it operates solely on the "one mans trash is another mans treasure" philosophy. In my area, the list is quite large and active, but where we just moved from it was not. I personally have received cabinets for my kitchen (just need refinished), the beautiful plants I mentioned in another post, paint for our garage, etc. etc. And I have decluttered many items as well, most currently, the 100 bricks I pulled out of our yard!

To date, there are over 3,000 Freecycle groups across the world, so check out the one in your area!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wedding details..down to the wire!

My wedding will take place in 2 weeks, so the arrangements are coming down to the wire.

Not much is actually left to do, the wedding is quite casual, less than 30 people attending. We still have to get a small cake, get my fiancee's uniform dry cleaned, I have to buy shoes, and we have to get outfits for the kids.

I've been perusing Ebay this evening, trying to get ideas. One of the benefits I've foun dof having 3 children relatively close in age, is that I can get them matching outfits, quite cheaply. I've decided on a Gymboree sweater vest, with a turtleneck underneath and gray dress pants. Now I just have to ok these with my fiancee and make the purchases.

Tomorrow we will be ordering the cake, only 2 tiers is necessary; and shopping for my shoes as well. The dress at the top is the dress I will be wearing, it is so beautiful in person, I only wish I could make it look as good as the model!

Costs for the wedding have been much lower than we expected, and break down as follows:

My dress: $200
Invitations: $30 (plus minimal costs of ink, and approximately $5 in postage)
Decorations: $47 (will have to spend an additional $30 dollars or so for fresh mums and pumpkins to decorate the front yard at my parents house)
Reception hall rental: $25
Paint for my parents arbor and porch (where the ceremony will take place): $0 - it came with the house when we bought it
Food: Our out of pocket will be less than $20, and that's only for beverages, food is being supplied by my parents and friends of the family as their gift to us
Shoes for me: $30
Fiancee's dry cleaning: $30 (full military dress uniform)
Clothing for the kids: $40, but I may also have to purchase shoes for them which will up this a bit

All in all: less than $500, for a beautiful outdoor wedding at sunset.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Enjoying Fall at the Apple Orchard

Today was a fun day, and specifically one of the reasons I became a SAHM again. My kindergartner's first field trip! We went to a local apple orchard where the kids got to see how they process the apples after picking, pick a few of their own apples, and visit the petting zoo.

The cost of this field trip was $6, which paid for their admission to the petting zoo and their 1/3 peck of apples. Not much, and my son had SO much fun, it was definitely worth it. He also really liked having mommy all to himself for a few hours.

After the kids left and went back to school, I went to the U-Pick portion of the farm, where they have apples for .79/lb or .59/lb if you buy 48 lbs. or more. Now, I would LOVE to get 48 pounds of apples, but there was no way I could carry them myself, so I ended up buying about 17 pounds. The apples I chose are called Mutsu apples, more commonly known as Crispins, which are a cross between Golden Delicious and the Indo apple from Japan. They haven't caught on in my area of the country yet, but are gaining!

These apples have a golden yellow skin with a very crisp and juicy flesh. They are slightly tart, but quite sweet. They are ideal for baking, processing, or eating. My plan is to make a couple of Apple Crisps, and I will also try my hand at homemade apple sauce and possibly even apple butter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Making Money on Ebay

One of the keys to my remaining a stay at home mom, in order for us to achieve our goals more quickly, is to not only save us money through my frugal running of our household, but also making money whenever possible. This consists of yard sales (twice yearly), surveys, points programs, and of course, ebay. I have been selling on ebay off and on for about 6 years, with quite a bit of success. I generally specialize in selling childrens clothing, not only my own, but those I find at yard sales for a steal and make a profit on.

Tonights auctions are a great example. A few weeks ago, my fiancee and I were yardsaling (I need to mention here how wonderful it is to have a fiancee who is almost MORE into yardsaling than myself), and came upon a yardsale with literally 40 boxes of clothing. They had signs up that said "All clothing .25". I said, cool, good prices, lets look around and dig a bit. As we walked up, the proprieter shouted all...ALL CLOTHING IS NOW .10!!!! I said, ok let's dig a little better, that's awesome! All in all, we walked out with over 90 items of clothing, and 4 hotdogs, for $9. The clothing was ALL name brand, in great condition, and a few items I'm keeping for myself!

Auction number one was a lot of 4 juniors shirts (American Eagle, Hollister, etc.) which I paid less than .40 for in all. I sold them for $4.99. That's a better than 100% profit right there. Auction #2 was a lot of 3 similar style shirts, less than .30, and sold for $4.99. I'm thrilled. No, my sales are not in the hundreds of dollars range, but my opinoin is that every penny counts, especially if it's profit.

All of my Ebay earnings right now are being earmarked for our wedding night (we're going to the gambling boat after our reception), so I'm listing like a mad fool!

Love Ebay! Shop often!

Cookbook Addiction at its finest

I admit it, I'm a cookbook-a-holic. Right now my collection stands at probably a little over 100 cookbooks, varying from 80 year old church cookbooks to the newest Rachel Ray. Old cookbooks are my favorite, while the recipes are sometimes a bit, strange, for today's tastes, the character and nostalgia contained in these books cannot be duplicated.

I am also a "crazy coupon lady", so my pantry contents may boggle the mind sometimes. Take for example, the 100 boxes of pasta sitting next to 200 boxes of granola bars on top of my cabinets. I have recently decided that my cookbooks and my pantry need to coexist more happily than they have in the past. Thus my journey begins to experiment with the recipes contained within my cookbooks, and using up the things in my pantry. I will post the recipes we try, as well as any modifications I make, and reviews from the family. Enjoy!

Edited to add: All of my cooking posts are being moved over to my new blog at, check out the initial post for introduction! Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Welcome to Making a Happy Home..Frugally!

For my first post, I thought I'd tell ya'll a little about me. I recently rejoined the force of the Stay At Home Mom. I am getting married in just under 3 weeks to the love of my life, and after sitting down and discussing the ins and outs, we discovered that after paying daycare costs, etc. with 3 children I was only bringing home about $200 a month, hardly worth the stress that came with my job as a benefits analyst. I've believed for quite a few years that I was born after my time. I am more than happy to be home, taking care of my children and family. I have absolutely nothing against mothers who work, I firmly believe everyone has to make the decision that's right for them and their circumstances, but being home is what *I* love.

I've been frugal all of my life, I was taught quite well by my parents on how to conserve energy, etc. in the most basic of ways, and as an adult I am gradually learning even more tips and tricks to make our dollars scream for mercy! Frugality is something that you are either born enjoying, or comes about due to circumstances. Whatever your situation, I certainly hope you will enjoy my blog!

I won't just be writing about saving money, no no no. I plan to share with you my journey's into using all of these cookbooks I have collected, planting a garden and learning food preservation techniques (Is there a "Canning for Dummies" book?) for the first time, working on our "fixer-upper" house we purchased in June (a first for both my fiancee and I), plus the everyday trials and tribulations of parenting, marriage and life in general.

A little more about my family. I have 3 sons (aged 6, 5 and 2), 4 cats, and my fiancee of course. We live in Southern Indiana, in close proximity to Kentucky. My fiancee is a machinist who works generally 6 days a week and is also an Army Reservist. We are planning our wedding as cheaply as possible, and counting the days to our marriage.

So grab a cup of coffee or tea, pass me some chai, and enjoy my journey into making a happy frugal home!